Airbus is facing a fight for survival, says CEO

A report say Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury, has briefed executives at the business that the coronavirus epidemic has left it facing an existential crisis. Tony McDonough reports

Guillaume Faury
Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury

 

Planemaker Airbus is considering a “radical” restructuring which could result in significant job losses, a new media report claims.

Business news outlet Reuters is reporting that Airbus chef executive, Guillaume Faury, has briefed executive at the European-wide company that the coronavirus epidemic has left it facing an existential crisis.

Airbus, which employs around 6,000 people at a giant wing-making plant at Broughton, just outside Liverpool city region, has been hit badly by the economic effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has grounded airline fleets across the world. Around two-thirds of the global airliner fleet is now sitting idle.

Carriers that were looking to expand and buy new aircraft are now themselves facing a fight for survival with air passengers numbers likely to remain significantly lower even after countries emerge from their lockdown restrictions.

According to the report on Reuters, Mr Faury told executives they needed to “face reality” and that Airbus may not survive without change. He insisted that “radical”, “proactive” and urgent steps were needed, according to people briefed on the presentation.

An Airbus spokesman told Reuters that no decisions had been made, adding: “Any further measures will be discussed first with our social partners, which means it is too early to speculate on any figures.”

One press report has talked of there being 10,000 job cuts but Faury reportedly insisted during the presentation that this was just speculation. But he said that Airbus plans to overhaul its structure to become simpler and more profitable, using “all necessary” social tools.

Mr Faury acknowledged the seriousness of the situation in a letter to all Airbus employees in April, in which he said the company was “bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed”.

In early May, a minister in the Welsh Government called on the UK Government to intervene to secure the long-term future of Airbus. This was shortly after the company announced that 3,000 workers out of the 6,000 workers at Deeside had been furloughed.

Many of the workers at Broughton live in the Liverpool city region and a downturn in the fortunes of Airbus would also have serious implications for the aerospace supply chain across the North West.

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